With no need for a fifth starter for a few days and a knee that’s constantly barking, the Yankees buy an extra roster spot by placing CC Sabathia on the 10-day injured list with right knee inflammation. The team called up utility-man Tyler Wade to take his roster spot.
It sort of seems like Sabathia’s knee is always inflamed, which gives the Yankees a built-in excuse to put him on the shelf whenever possible. In 17 starts for the Yankees this year, Sabathia is 5-6 with a 4.78 ERA (5.93 FIP). Amazingly, Baseball-Reference’s ERA+ stat lists him at 93 – only 7% below league-average.
Sabathia has already had an IL stint for the knee – missing the minimum 10 days in late-May to early-June. He had missed the first two weeks of the season with his five-game suspension from an intentional hit-by-pitch against Tampa Bay at the end of the 2018 season as well as recovery from his offseason cardiac surgery.
The current roster math dictates that they can keep everyone on normal rest and avoid the fifth starter through early-August. The Yankees opt for a four-man bench rather than a nine-man bullpen.
Wade re-joins the club for the first time since May 8 and likely slots back into his utility role. He hit .204/.316/.204 (50 wRC+) with five RBIs and five stolen bases in a 20-game stint with the club early in the season. Since being sent to Scranton, he’s hit .309/.357/.452 (105 wRC+) with 17 doubles, four triples, four homers and 11 steals in 15 tries.
An interesting note on Wade is that he did not make the club after a strong spring training because they did not view his center-field abilities as adequate. Since moving back to Triple-A, he has only started five games at a position other than shortstop or second base (four at third base, one each in left and center field). It seems the plan to have Wade be fluent everywhere defensively may have met its end.
It had seemed like Thairo Estrada and Breyvic Valera had leaped over Wade on the Yankees infield depth chart, but Wade’s versatility seems to have made him the perfect guy to fill out the bench while the Yankees have the extra space. Plus, Estrada seems like a possible trade chip.